"Songs For Siblings" CDR
Genres: lo-fi, indie pop
PO Box 0664
Allen Park, MI
Sep 26 - Oct 3 2004
I can see it now. Three friends get together one day and record
some songs in someone's living room. One plays the
guitar, one the drums, and one the bass. They can sort of
sing. It's the same story that's been played out thousands of
times before, by start-up bands and goofy teenagers from all across the world.
At first, it's all just a bunch of floating ideas. The songs
are simple, recorded mainly to remember the event - but after a few
more "practices" (they aren't really practices, as it isn't
really a band), the ideas become more cohesive, and the songs start to
develop melodies and hooks. Some other friends drop by and
listen for awhile, and their wide-eyed expressions indicate that they
are somewhat impressed. "That sounds sort
of neat," says one. "Kind of like Belle &
Sebastian, but less dreary and a bit rougher around the
After awhile, the band's got a couple dozen songs on tape, and they
pare them down to assemble a little self-released cassette. It
circulates the area, reaches friends, charms semi-interested parents -
then follow the local shows, instigating even better sales. Five
months later, they've figured out their band name (Pants Yell!
seems cute and cryptic enough) and they've got a release coming out on
a neat DIY label out of Michigan. Could have been Olympia, WA or
Athens, GA (pop music and ancient Greece go hand in hand), but Allen
Park's nice, too.
A neat little scenario, and one that's probably entirely
wrong. Maybe the band will email me to tell me how
presumptuously incorrect and stupid I was. That'd be neat.
But when I
listen to Songs For Siblings, that's what I hear. An
indie pop pet project that's just starting to bloom. Pants
Yell! have been getting major compliments and considerable buzz on
the lo-fi scene, and it's all with good reason. These songs are
well-written and endlessly pleasant, although quite low-key. The
melodies are refreshingly tight, although occasionally bland - but
some of these tunes are just jammed full with hooks.
"My Boyfriend Writes Plays" is one of Songs For
Siblings' greatest triumphs - a subtly twangy guitar part is
masterfully combined with soft percussion and lush vocals. The
results are vaguely reminiscent of Mojave 3 and Belle and
Sebastian, though a bit peppier. "Pony Tails" and
"Public Gardens" also warrant smiles and hums; "Bi-Coastal Serenade" and "Your Favorite
Fairgrounds," meanwhile, are good, but don't live up to the album's better
Pants Yell!'s style remains reasonably constant throughout
the disc, but that's perfectly acceptable for a debut full-length.
This disc is definitely worth a look for lo-fi fans, especially
considering its ridiculously fair price (five dollars). Look to Songs
For Siblings whether you're celebrating the joys
of life or navigating your way through dreary melancholy.
9 tracks, distributed by the
label, released 2004]